Good morning and happy Monday. Time to get a new work week started. Here’s the Digest.
1. Ever since a law requiring buffer strips passed two years ago farmers have been busy mainly on two fronts; arguing about the legislation’s value, and installing the grassy strips next to lakes and streams. The idea is that the the buffer of vegetation will filter cropland runoff; removing some of the pollution in the water before it reaches lakes or streams. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources has identified about 400,000 sites across the state that need a grass buffer along public waters. The board’s executive director John Jaschke said the required buffer is now in place in about 95 percent of those sites. (MPR News)
2. Starting Wednesday, people can begin buying non-group health insurance for next year. For people in most states this open enrollment period will be entirely different than in past years. But not in Minnesota. Minnesota is among 11 states and the District of Columbia that run their own Affordable Care Act market places. Each has a website where people can buy coverage if they don’t get health insurance through their job or a government program. They’re in charge of their own marketing and enrollment assistance programs, so they’re largely immune from Trump administration actions that critics warn will reduce 2018 individual-market enrollment. (MPR News)
3. Suburban school districts will be asking voters to approve a long list of projects on Nov. 7. New elementary schools are envisioned in the Anoka-Hennepin, Wayzata and Prior Lake-Savage districts — moves one could expect of big or growing school systems in a typical election year. But this season marks the comeback, too, of the inner-ring suburban district, most notably Roseville and Mounds View. Each is eyeing projects totaling more than $100 million. After decades of shrinkage and school closures, inner-ring districts today account for nine of the 20 fastest-growing in the Twin Cities area. Some are turning away nonresidents once needed to fill classrooms and balance budgets. (Star Tribune)
4. Local branches of progressive groups like Indivisible and Stand Up Minnesota are still protesting outside Congressional offices, packing town hall meetings and blasting President Trump on social media. But increasingly, their members are also narrowing their focus to matters closer to home, tuning in to and speaking up at school board and City Council meetings, or getting to know their state lawmakers. And with about a year to go before the critical 2018 midterm election, many people who count themselves among “the resistance” to Trump and his agenda are throwing their time and money into political campaigns — or launching their own bids for office. (Star Tribune)
5. St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter said last week was a difficult one, after a mailer went out implying guns stolen from his home were directly tied to a rise in gun crime in the city. A political action committee backed by the St. Paul Police Federation sent the mailer. It followed a letter sent publicly Tuesday by the federation, which also criticized Carter after his home was burglarized and two guns were stolen. “Our family was targeted by a special interest group funded by big businesses and the police union, who chose to exploit one of our most vulnerable moments for political gain,” Carter said Saturday to volunteers who were gearing up to go door-knocking for his campaign. Dave Titus, the president of the police union, declined to comment Saturday. In a statement sent out Friday, he took full responsibility for the political actions of the union. (MPR News)